Bullying in schools is growing concern in the United States. Bullying causes many problems, not only for the victim, but also for the bully. Students desire a safe haven at home and school and problems with bullies lead to insecurity in the victim. Bullying should be taken seriously and teachers, administrators and parents should work together to find solutions.
Problems for Victims
Bullying can cause life-long negative psychological effects on a victim of a bully. A victim will often suffer through the abuse because he is ashamed or he doesn't believe that change will happen if he tells. He also may fear retaliation. A victim of a bully can end up fearful of others and may be unable to cope socially. A victim may become withdrawn and his school work may begin to suffer. A victim may turn around and bully someone he determines to be weaker, thus perpetuating the problem.
Problems for Bullies
A bully may also have life-long issues related to bullying. The Center for Problem Oriented Policing gives some examples for why a bully turns to picking on someone weaker such as abusive influence in the home and peer group influence. If the peers of the bully agree that someone is socially different, they may encourage the bully's behavior. According to a study by the Fight Crime Organization, nearly 60 percent of boys who researchers classified as bullies in grades six through nine were convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24. The bully may be experiencing abuse at home or have problems adjusting at school so he lashes out at someone weaker.
Schools can set up programs to educate all students from a young age about the dangers and effects of bullying. Try to stop the problem before it starts by setting up parameters for students when faced with bullying. Offer a safe environment for students to discuss problems they may have with another student. Set a policy related to bullying, such as required counseling for the bully and victim and a scale of disciplinary actions, such as required community service, depending on the severity of the case. Educate all teachers on how to deal with bullying in the classroom effectively through one-on-one interaction with the student, setting up meetings with parents of bullies and victims, or when and how to remove a violent bully from the classroom. Monitor areas where students have less supervision to prevent bullies from easy opportunities to bully. Encourage all students to report incidents of bullying, whether they are victims or witnesses.
Parents need to have a clear understanding of what constitutes bullying and the schools bullying policies so that they can recognize the signs and take all incidents of peer abuse seriously. A parent of a bully needs to take steps to work with the child by finding out why the child is bullying and determining if the child needs professional counseling. Parents can also encourage empathy by explaining to the child what empathy is and showing the child by example. Parents can encourage their child to stand up for herself and teach her effective ways of managing anger or feelings of helplessness. Constant communication, through phone calls, notes and meetings between parents and school is necessary to prevent bullying.